New York State Academy of Mineralogy (NYSAM)

Former Mineral Displays

These mineral collections and displays have been removed and replaced on the exhibit floor.

Tourmalines of New York

Tourmalines are a group of complex silicates of aluminum and boron belonging to the hexagonal crystal system. Compositions vary widely as sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, lithium, manganese and fluorine enter the structure. Tourmalines occur in a variety of colors caused primarily by differences in chemical composition. Usually, iron-rich varieties are black, magnesium-rich varieties are brown to yellow, and chromium-bearing varieties are green.

Tourmalines occur in two main types of geological environments; igneous rocks, particularly in granites and pegmatites and metamorphic rocks such as schists and marbles. Tourmalines have scientific significance providing information on the thermal and fluid history of the rocks in which they form and are an important component in the boron cycle on Earth.

Tourmalines are also cut as gemstones and used in jewelry.


The Tilly Foster Mine Specimens from the Harvard Mineralogical Museum

In 1810, a rich magnetite iron deposit was discovered in Brewster, Putnam County on farmland later owned by Tillingham (Tilly) Foster. Large-scale mining began in 1853, and by 1879, the mine reached a depth of 600 feet. The mine produced a total of about 700,000 tons of ore and at its peak employed approximately 300 miners. The Tilly Foster mine closed shortly after a tragic rockslide in 1897 killed 13 miners. clinochlore pyrrhotite The ore body was enclosed in a gneiss, a common rock in the Hudson Highlands. Outstanding specimens of magnetite, chondrodite, clinochlore, brucite, serpentine and titanite are just a few of the more than 90 mineral species collected at the mine. Elwood P. Hancock (1834-1916), an active collector of New York and New Jersey minerals, purchased specimens directly from the miners in the late 19th century. His collection was acquired by The Mineralogical Museum of Harvard University in 1916.

Kenneth H. Hollmann Collection

Kenneth Hollmann (1943-2005) was born and raised in Rutland, Vermont. He obtained his higher education at nearby Castleton State College where he majored in geology. He had a 30-year career as a chemical analyst with General Electric in Rutland. He passed away at home in January 2005.

His interest in minerals began at the age of 12 when he received a boxed set of rocks, a microscope and Frederick Pough’s Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. His collection consists of specimens from throughout the world, but the minerals of the Northwest Adirondack Mining District held a special place with him. He spent many hours there with local collectors and miners and built a very impressive suite of minerals from that area. The highlights of that collection are on display in this case.

The New York State Museum would like to thank the Hollmann family for making the collection available to us. Acquisition funding was provided by New York State, the New York State Academy of Mineralogy and a generous donor. We wish to especially thank William Metropolis of the Harvard Mineralogical Museum for his tireless and extraordinary efforts in helping to secure the Hollmann collection.

alverson case

Schuyler Alverson Collection

The New York State Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Schuyler Alverson Collection. Schuyler Alverson is a well-known mineral collector and life-long resident of St. Lawrence County. He is the co-author of the publication, Minerals of the St. Lawrence Valley and the former co-owner of the gem diopside mine in Dekalb, New York. The collection consists of several hundred specimens, many of them self-collected from rare and important sites throughout St. Lawrence County. The purchase of this collection was made possible with funding from the State of New York and the New York State Academy of Mineralogy.

display case

Steven C. Chamberlain Collection

This display showcases the highlights of the Steven C. Chamberlain Collection, some of the finest examples of New York State minerals held in a private collection. The collection was assembled over the last three decades by Dr. Chamberlain from both field work and purchases.

Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain (b.1946) is a retired Professor of Bioengineering and Neuroscience. He is a consulting editor on Rocks and Minerals Magazine, co-chairman of The Rochester Mineralogical Symposium and the volunteer curator of the Oren C. Root Collection at Hamilton College. He is a noted mineralogical researcher, collector and photographer whose works are widely published.

kurowski case

Frank Kurowski Collection

The specimens in this case were collected over several decades by Frank Kurowski and represent some of the highlights of the collection that he recently donated to the Museum. The specimens were all collected in the field in upstate New York.

Mr. Kurowski utilized many of his finds as raw material for his gem and jewelry hobby. Examples of some of his lapidary work can be found in this case, as well as, the nearby Gems of New York case.

Mr. Kurowski successfully ran a television and radio repair business for many years in New Hartford, New York where he resided with his wife and two daughters. He spent many of his spare hours hunting the back roads for interesting mineral localities and compiled a large mineral collection as well as extensive knowledge of the state's mineral resources.

He has generously shared this information with us over the years by volunteering as a Museum field assistant. His dedication to mineralogy and his continuing commitment to the New York State Museum serve as a constant inspiration to our staff.

meteorite display


Shooting stars that cross our night sky are not really stars, but pieces of rock burning in the atmosphere. They are meteors - meteorites when they hit the ground. Most meteorites are made of stone, but since they look like ordinary rock they are seldom recognized. It is the more rare iron meteorites that dominate collections. Twelve meteorites have been recovered in New York, the most recent in Peekskill in 1992.
economic minerals display

Minerals and You

New York ranks in the top 15 mineral producing states. Annually, New York miners produce over $1.5 billion in mineral products.

What do a billiard ball, an automobile and a ceramic cookie jar have in common?
......all of these are made with New York minerals!

Did You Know ?

Our 2500 mines produce an amazing variety of products.

Each year, every New Yorker uses more than 41,000 pounds of newly mined mineral materials.

New York's sand, gravel, and crushed stone are used to build and maintain roads, schools, hospitals, airports, and houses.

Halite is mined for food, medicine, and road salt.

Garnet is mined in the Adirondacks to use for sandpaper, polishing glass and metal, and water filtration.

Limestone is mined in eastern New York to produce cement - the backbone of many construction projects.

Brick manufacturers mine clay in the Hudson River Valley.

Lead and silver are by-products of zinc mines in the northwest Adirondacks.

Granite, slate, and sandstone are mined in several parts of the state for use as building stone.

Wollastonite is an ingredient in billiard balls, electrical panels, and automotive parts.

Zinc is used in every car tire and as a coating to prevent steel from rusting. Talc is mined for filler and ceramics.